Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Start Where You Are

"Start Where You Are", the title of a Buddhist meditation book by Pema Chodron. I'm currently on my 4th or 5th reading of it, and can't imagine I'll ever decide to be done. I find it to be a wonderful guide to suffering less, and living more gently and fully.

So, starting where you are begins with the concept of letting go of "self-improvement". Hmmm, really? I don't have to strive to be better? I don't have to do something to prove I'm good? I don't have to polish and shine myself up to demonstrate that I'm a winner? Phew, cuz all the effort I've made in that vein, hasn't really removed the scratchy feelings of "not enough" (not smart enough, pretty enough, lean enough, rich enough, nice enough....) that seem to niggle at me from time to time.

But what to do when these feelings begin to itch? Start Where You Are, offers that you are perfectly all right, just as you are. The Buddhist suggestion for when the "not enough" itch begins to prickle? - just breathe into to it. Stay with it - the sensation that is. Stop agreeing with any "thoughts" that support the concept, and just breathe. No thinking, no stirring the pity pot, no running from. Just relaxed breathing into the achy spot. Easing, easing, easing.
Now, move on into the doing of your day - just as you are. Not acting on the "not enough" premise, or against it - trying to disprove it. Just do the next "doing" thing of your day. Let the sensation fade in the meditation. And start where you are, being YOU, rather than a "not enough" concept.

Be well, and breathe well,

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